Muzaffarnagar: In Muzaffarnagar's relief camps, there's a sense of disbelief over Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's recent comments that Pakistani intelligence agencies were in touch with some riot hit victims. The comments have triggered a political controversy.
With a majority of the victims at the relief camps illiterate, only a few have either heard of Mr Gandhi's comments or read about it. Those who have, say Mr Gandhi is disconnected from reality.
30-year-old Ash Mohammad, who has studied till class eight, is a small time clothes trader. He has not been able to return to work for 50 days.
Ash Mohammad, staying at Loee relief camp, said, "If we were willing to be associated with terror activities, why would be on the footpath with our children. Why would we not dare to live in our own homes? We are shivering from the cold. People are dying. About 14 to 15 people have died in the relief camps."
He says they are overwhelmed by problems like tents that are unusable, family members who are sick, the lack of food and livelihood.
Some of the young men have been unable to rejoin college because they cannot afford the Rs 30 for daily bus fare and sundry expenses.
"It is a big shock to hear the comments. As it is the community is experiencing a crisis. This can only further deepen it. We live in India and we will die for India," said a teenager at the Basi Kalan relief camp.
Another man at Shahpur relief camp said the remarks were irresponsible. "These rumours should have first been investigated. Before doing that, these comments should not have been made."
The district administration says it has no evidence to back Mr Gandhi's comments of activity by Pakistani intelligence agents.
The district magistrate of Muzaffarnagar, Kaushal Raj Sharma, said, "At least at the district level, we don't have any advisories issued by any of the intelligence agencies nor do we have any local intelligence. There are a number of phones being monitored, a number of electronic transactions that are getting watched."
For the riot victims, each day is a struggle. With no help coming from the government, they survive on charity extended to them by Muslim families and organisations like the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
"Those who have approached us have only come forward to help us. No one has suggested that we counter violence with violence," said an inmate at the Shapur relief camp.